Forget Omnichannel. Are You Omnipresent?

An industry colleague told me his investment advisor has been trying to arrange a meeting the past few weeks to assure him the sky isn’t falling despite plummeting stock portfolios that suggested otherwise.

The executive has been putting off the meeting, not because he doesn’t appreciate the banker’s attention to such matters. The first quarter has been such a mad dash toward the International Home + Housewares Show that there has been little time for such distraction, however vital it might seem.

Blurring The Lines

Indeed, with so many potential distractions moving in and out of our sight lines, sustaining laser-like focus in today’s business climate has never been more challenging. And it has never been more imperative.

The cover story in this special show edition of HomeWorld Business (March 1, 2016) investigates housewares retailing at a turning point as retailers look to harness the tactical clarity needed to succeed in a marketplace blurring the lines between in-store and digital shopping.

Retailing has already moved past its omnichannel incubation stage. The objective has evolved into an omnipresent retailing methodology that homes in on prospective customers (don’t wait for them to find you), engages them and clings to them at every shopping and checkout touch point. And it does so while letting consumers call the shots, or at least think they are.

Bloomberg News recently reported that the 2015 Black Friday weekend marked the first time digital commerce traffic eclipsed in-store traffic. That’s a pivotal moment in retail history that should have everyone, especially bricks-and-clicks operators, asking, “Now what?”

It has been harder to find and hold the focus on one thing with so many divergent operational priorities tugging at the daily workflow just to put retailers in the position they face now: the precipice of true digital and physical retailing convergence. 

Focus On The Consumer

Do they sharpen the focus on their digital progress? Or do they refocus on their store operations? The easy answer is “Yes” to both. And omnipresent retailing success will demand both if retailers hope to accompany and guide the consumer through every shopping impulse. But it won’t be so easy. 

Moving from omnichannel retailing theory to an omnipresent retailing reality starts with an adjustment in focus from the process to the consumer. Instead of all consumer roads leading to your brand, think of it as all of your roads leading to the consumer. 

Fast Retail Evolution

Doing everything to keep the consumer clearly in the center of a fast-evolving retailing lens, despite all the distractions that try to blur progress, might be the best investment advice in retailing today. Without such clarity, it might begin to feel like the sky is falling.